Council sets speaking limits

Special meeting Jan. 29: Each person allotted five minutes to address cell tower and Wi-Fi issues

The time to be allotted for citizens to voice their thoughts on ‘communication system location’ at a special council meeting in January has been changed.

The meeting was requested by citizens, mostly members of Citizens for Safe Technology, with regard to siting of cell towers, but they would also like to provide information about the spread of Wi-Fi. It will be held in council chambers on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

The city had initially announced that the first round of presentations would be limited to a maximum of seven minutes per presenter and, if time permits, a second round of presentations would be limited to a maximum of five minutes.

However, at a meeting on Monday, Jan. 5 of the city’s development and planning services committee, council members present decided to shorten the presentation allotment.

Coun. Chad Eliason said he thinks the presentation lengths are long, noting that just 10 presenters using their full time would total two hours.

After some discussion, he suggested each presenter be given five minutes in the first round and a maximum of two minutes in the second.

Other councillors agreed unanimously. Couns. Alan Harrison and Ken Jamieson were absent.

The idea for the meeting arose after city staff presented a motion to council at the Oct. 6 planning meeting. It proposed that council recognize Industry Canada protocols as the guide to local communication system location and consultation procedures.

Staff noted that Industry Canada and Health Canada ultimately have jurisdiction over such towers and health standards.

More recently, citizen opposition was sparked when the majority of council agreed to sign an agreement with Shaw Cablesystems Limited to provide free Wi-Fi access in some city parks and facilities.

Presenters who wish to use audio visual aids are requested to provide electronic copies to the administration department at city hall by 4 p.m. on Jan. 27.

Citizens for Safe Technology have asked council to revisit its decision on signing an agreement with Shaw for free Wi-Fi in the parks, but they’ve been told that won’t happen.

The city notice regarding the Jan. 29 meeting states that no council motions on the topic are scheduled for consideration.